A Voyage of Discovery

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Projects are a bit like a voyage of discovery – you know where you want to go and have some idea of how you’re going to get there but you don’t know the details. As you move forward, you get more clarity and the more experience you have, the better chance you have of making it work.

I’m talking to you from the N Seoul Tower in South Korea, after a hard week’s work with some clients in Asia and I decided I should do a little bit of tourism. So the first question is: How do I get to the tower?

It turns out that one of the easiest ways is just an ordinary bus route. There are tourist buses but then you have to go to the right place for them and you don’t get in touch with the people. So I decide to do it that way and then I had to find out how to pay for the bus.

You can either pay the driver with money but it’s hard to talk if you don’t speak the language. Or you can get an electronic card which is really handy. So I bought the electronic card but then I discovered that it had no money on it. Apparently you have to buy the card and load it as two transactions. So that meant I had to ask somebody in the hotel to write out a message for me to show the shop telling them what to do.

Then I knew roughly where the bus stop was – it was near a metro station but although it was only maybe 10 m from the exit, it took me about half an hour to find it. I didn’t know what a bus stop looked like and I didn’t know what signs would be on it and if it was the right bus going in the right direction and so forth.

Eventually the bus came along but late. I knew something was happening because the indicator had the number of the bus and then some message different to the other buses. But I don’t know – probably to do with a delay.

Then I had to know where to get off. That was relatively easy because at the end of the route all the tourists got off and went to the Tower which is another few hundred meters away.

So that’s the way a project is and the next time I come here should be much easier:

  • I know how the cards work;
  • I know you don’t need to register them;
  • I know where you can load them;
  • I know you have to have a card;
  • I know how to find my way out of the metro station;
  • I can orient myself on the map.

So I learned a lot. Doing it another time would probably be a good bit easier which is just the way projects are.

Thanks very much and goodbye.

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Can you really afford on-site Project Team Training?

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Can you really afford on-site project team training?

On-site training has great advantages. The face-to-face interaction is natural and it is great fun and effective.

Online training also has advantages.

It is immediate – it can be set up with very little lead time. It involves no travel costs and the logistics are simpler, for example you don’t need to organize rooms or lunches or travel visas. And it’s effective.

So when you look at both of them, why do we need one or the other? Very often the assumption is that the face-to-face interaction is the only way to do it, but today people are very used to operating through the social media and they have a completely different and more relaxed way of interacting with people who are further away.

The result of this is that online training is also effective, so it’s up to you to decide.

To discuss this or any other project issues, please connect with me at scatterwork.com .

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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6 Benefits of cloud based Business Process Management

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6 Benefits of cloud-based Business Process Management:

The first one is that it increases the reliability of your business to use processes as a way of optimizing the way you work. This increases your production capacity and also reduces your stress. Informal processes are captured and added to the organization’s know-how. If you don’t do this and people move away, you can lose their know-how as well.

You can also optimize and standardize the processes When you have a good way of doing something, then you can make it even better.

There’s no point in doing things less than the best way.

With cloud-based BPM, each activity is announced by a notification, usually an email, so the training becomes telling people “When you get a message like this, then react to what it tells you to do”.

If the wording of the tasks is properly done then the amount of training needed is reduced considerably.

The users can be anywhere in the world, particularly today with mobile phone access to networks. The team members don’t all need to be sitting in one place together, so this gives great scope for deciding who’s involved in doing the work.

BPM business process management is actually a requirement of the ISO 9000:2015 standard.

So if you’d like to discuss this or any of your project issues, please connect with me.

Thanks very much.
Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Who says face to face meetings are essential?

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Who says face-to-face meetings are essential? Let’s do a balance sheet.

In favour is that it’s much easier to reach decisions: we can talk to people in different ways – formally, informally, at the flipchart, over lunch and so forth. And of course, it is great for team building.

But let’s look at the negative side. We may have an end of phase meeting in a project that needs to go ahead and the business cost of delaying it can be significant. So if we have to bring people from different places, there will be a delay setting up the meeting.

And then of course there are the costs of travel and maybe hotels flights and so on.

And then we also lose business efficiency because you can’t work as well while you’re traveling. Some people try to, but really you can’t work as efficiently while you’re moving around as you could in your office.

So the negative business effects of not holding the meeting on time are considerable.

If we took the old way of doing things and just came online, then we wouldn’t have very good meetings but these days there are so many tools to help us get those meetings right, that it doesn’t always make sense to hold a face to face meeting.

We can do the team building another time, whenever we get the opportunity. But we don’t need to tie the team building to the decision-making.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Be the Leader of your Projects

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My name is Hadi and I am the author of the book “Be the Leader of your Projects”. I wrote this book because my philosophy is “whatever we do in this world, we should be the leaders of our job”.

For my starting point, I asked myself the question myself: “what do the great leaders have in common and how can we use these for project leadership?”

Then I searched for a variety of leaders, such as Ataturk, Ghandi, Jack Welch and so on.

Then I determined five common features or leadership behaviours:

Shared Vision
Influence
Motivation
Learning
Creating an Effective Team.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

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Are you using this strategy for your workflows?

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This video suggests a strategy for developing your workflows.

Well, why use a workflow? Let’s look at the project contents: a project is something we do once.

Processes are repetitive and projects are implemented by using processes and processes can be supported by workflows.

For example, we have project phase reviews, we have several reviews in every project we have a lot of projects we have a lot of phase reviews.

So it’s really a process: it’s a thing we do every time and if we have a good method of organizing it, then all of our projects will benefit. So in this case, we can use the process of a phase review and it will help us implement our projects.

Now, we can use cloud workflows for project processes, for example we might have a phase review process for virtual projects where the activities are in different places and the challenge is: it’s not always easy to communicate the detailed process steps to the remote location.

It’s hard to show people so what we are going to suggest is that we learn by example.

The first thing we do during the first process, we do the work, organized to phase meeting and we do it ourselves.

After the first use of the process, we have a look at the workflow that we’ve been documenting and we improve it.

Then during the second process we actually use it again, but this time we invite people to watch closely what we’re doing: maybe you will use screenshare with Skype or something like that, so that they can see what we’re doing.

This gives you a chance to test the workflow. It’s much easier to do this than it is to give somebody the workflow and ask them to test it.

And then the next time we have a phase review meeting, we use to process but we give it to the other people: we tell them to implement it and we support them.

Hopefully the next time round they do it on their own without any help.

So the basic idea is we develop the workflow, then we improve it, then we demonstrate it and then we hand it over. If we do that, we’ve got a good chance that the workflow will work properly.

So if you’re interested in any of these ideas or other project issues, please contact us.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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Your Biggest Project Challenges

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Deasún Ó Conchúir in the Berner Oberland, to ask a very simple question: “What are your biggest project challenges?”

It is by understanding the issues well that we come to the best solutions and by pooling ideas we have an even better chance of good solutions.

For this reason we are running a mailing in parallel with this video to find out among our readers what their biggest issues are and I would appreciate your feedback.

Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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How to keep everyone on the same page

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‘How to keep everyone on the same page’ a short video from scatterwork.com. In team work commitments matter, colleagues undertake work expected that the others will also deliver and of course this principle applies to life in general not just a business.

So commitments are important and we share them by a combination of person-to-person communication and keeping the commitment visible. So to keep it visible or to keep everyone on the same page, we publish the team commitments in a format that is easy to read, easy to find and easy to review.

If we do this we can keep their commitments in front of people’s eyes but if the commitment is deep inside some document after several clicks it will never be rates and of course we give praise friend praises due to people who meet their commitments and we do that in public.

So to discuss your project issues please contact with me over LinkedIn or any of the other methods.

Thank you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Online Training for Project Management & Team Building.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

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How to Develop a Communications Charter

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Why have a communications charter at all? The answer is that the scope for misunderstanding in virtual teams is large, unless communication norms are explicitly stated and agreed. This is because there is such a variety of backgrounds within a team.

So how do we do it? We set up a shared document (wiki) so that everyone can enter their constraints: I need this; I can’t talk at that time; I prefer to talk by telephone and so on, then hold a teleconference using the wiki to identify the main types of communication: reporting, problem-solving, complaining, idea sharing and so forth.

And then for each category of communication, work out the rules as bullet points.

Then pool the results, adjust them according to feedback and publish them to the written communications charter for the team.

Here is an example: “Guidelines for resolving misunderstandings”:

If possible, talk instead of writing; do not allow annoyance to build up; contact the partner by a short short message simply asking for a call. Say what you feel and the impact on you. And then ask for suggestions that would help avoid what you find difficult, and summarize your results in a note to both parties.

To discuss your project issues, please connect with me either through LinkedIn or any of the other methods. Thanks very much.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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Do you know how to communicate effectively?

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Do scheduled meetings support effective communication, particularly of teams that are distributed globally? I would say “No, not all the time”. The key issue here is the word “scheduled”. One of the things that we can do is watch the presence indicator – these little green lights for example you get on a lot of applications to tell you if the other person’s machine is online.

Maybe they are not online but at least it looks as though they are at their desk and able to communicate. If they are, that is a good time to call. In different time zones it can be much easier to notice that somebody comes online and then just call them there and then. And the second tip is to use a cloud-based collaboration service which has video in it,because then you are all using the same system and you can click on a person’s name; it goes straight through; you can talk to them immediately.

So the conclusion is that the word “scheduled” is maybe over-used and in this type of environment, it may be better to look for opportunities to talk when the other person is obviously online. So if you want to discuss this or any of your own project issues, please connect with me.

I look forward to talking to you.

Dr. Deasún Ó Conchúir (pronounce) is a Collaboration Consultant at Scatterwork, which supports Project Solutions for Virtual Teams.

Email: deasun@scatterwork.com

Tel: +41 79 692 4735 Talk to me

LinkedIn: Connect with me

Please share with colleagues, who also get 10% off their first booking.

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